Is Search Engine Marketing The Answer To New Church Members?

changing-church-congregationChanging national demographics, religions beliefs and habits are changing business as usual for churches around the country. While some congregations are dwindling others are flourishing, What’s the difference and how do churches grow their attendance these days?

We asked two pastors how they were doing with attendance to get their take on the trends. We talked to Paster John Leager of Meadowspring Church. He said that church attendance has been steady over the years and even growing. “WE have a very contemporary service that appeals to a lot of millennials and families with children”. That has really helped keep our congregation growing while others are having troubles.

We talked to Paster Bode of Redeemer Lutheran Church, apparently they are in a different situation.  He said, “Our church population is definitely aging, in fact, last year we only had one baptism. We need to make real efforts to attract a younger families”.

We thought that maybe it was time to think outside the box a little bit when it comes to attracting new people to the church. We reached out to Zack Gaddy of Big League Search (http://www.bigleaguesearch.net) to ask “how churches can use Google to attract new member to the church?”.

Zack was happy to speak to us and offer some suggestions. There are really four ways that chruches can get their congrigations in front of people who are looking for new members.

  1. Rank higher in the organic results – When people are searching for “churches in St. Paul”, if you come up in the first couple of results you are much more likely to get that searcher to click on your search result and check out your website. From there, you need to have your website setup to convert that visitor into a customer, for lack of a better word. There are a lot of ways to increase your rankings, fortunately, competition for searches like this isn’t has difficult as many other keywords so if Congregation wanted to make that investment it would likely be modest and payoff in higher rankings.
  2. Pay to get people to your site – This might not seem like a good fit but Google has a whole infrastructure for bidding on keywords people are searching for. Every month, hundreds of people are searching for churches in st. paul mn. You can advertise to people making these searches and get them to your site for about $1.50 per click.
  3. Get busy on social media – Start off by being proactive about telling people what’s going on in your church and how you’re involved in the community. Like and follow other organizations in your town, comment on their posts and tweets. Make yourself known so that when people are searching for events in town your activities come up.
  4. Make videos and post them on YouTube – Believe it or not, YouTube is the second most popular search engine on the web. Having an active video channel and optimizing your videos to get found for certain keywords can help attract souls. If you do everything correctly, you can also get these videos to come up in the organic search results.

These tactics might seem pretty advanced for many organizations but if you find the right professional who is willing to work on a sliding scale they dont’ have to be cost prohibitive. Many congregations already have members that have many of the skills needed to do some of th work and those members would likely be happy to volunteer their time and talents.

If you’re interested in learning more about how church organizations can use search engine marketing for member outreach we encourage you to like Big League Search on Facebook.